Although it tends to happen less and less (finally), sometimes I will still get skeptics who will ask me, "How are you qualified to work with married couples if you've never been married before?" While I have a few answers for that, as it specifically pertains to the topic at hand, how I'll oftentimes respond is, "I know what it's like to be a child of divorce. Twice, in fact. We've got more insight than you think."
This, along with the amount of divorced people who I speak with on a pretty regular basis — y'all, if there is one thing that I'm passionate about, it's doing all that I can to help individuals to 1) choose their prospective partner wisely and 2) proactively do all that they can to avoid becoming a divorce statistic. Because no matter how common it may be these days, ask any divorced person you know and I'm pretty sure they will say that 1) if they knew then what they know now, they would've done things very differently either before or doing their union and 2) there is no easy or uncomplicated way to handle the breakdown in a marriage; that divorce is not simply a "break-up".
As the saying goes, I can show you better than I can tell you. Here are 14 people (middle names provided) who have openly and honestly shared with me why their marriage didn't last, from their perspective. They are doing so in the hopes that you will take their insights as an ounce of prevention if you are contemplating marriage and a cautionary tale if you are considering getting out without looking from a few other angles…first.
Ransom. 43. Divorced 5 Years.
"What a lot of women don't realize is a lot of us can be OK with never getting married if it was just about us. Let me explain — men are sometimes more interested in a good mom for our kids than a wife for ourselves. We don't want our children to be in a broken home and so we get married to prevent that from happening. I already had one child before marriage, so I got married to have more. I loved my ex but I didn't love being married. So, I focused more on being a great dad than the best husband. It happens more than you'd probably think. Men just don't talk about it much."
Cheryl. 29. Divorced 2 Years.
"I don't know why people think they truly know someone after six months. You don't. It's not that my ex-husband is a bad guy. He really isn't. We just didn't know each other as well as we thought we did and it was actually me who started to resent him because of it. He wanted to make it work. I just started shutting down to the point where I made it impossible for him to want to stay. Get to know someone over a year, go to counseling on the front end and don't avoid therapy when you're in trouble after marriage. Forever is too long to marry a stranger."
Nicholas. 35. Divorced 6 Years.
"I'll own it but I've got to say that the Church is out here wrecking all kinds of lives. I say that because it teaches that if you want to have sex, get married to 'make it right'. Don't do that.
"If sex is your main motive for marriage, life is gonna hit you really hard if you don't end up having a consistent sex life after saying 'I do'. I didn't in my marriage and although my wife and I went to premarital counseling, sex was treated like an afterthought with our pastor. We didn't realize how sexually incompatible we were and because I can have sex every day and she was good with once a month, I just couldn't stay committed to that."
"To me, it was torture; especially since, when we did have it, it was just…alright."
Krishel. 40. Divorced 7 Years.
"It's gonna sound cliché AF, but I was the person who thought I could change my ex. In our case, I'm an extrovert and he's an introvert. It doesn't seem like a big deal when you're dating because so much of what you do is with only the two of you. But you start to get sick of people who never want to go out, who avoid family functions, who don't want to do the holidays with family — ugh. I still own my part because I knew all of this, going in, and I thought my influence would change him. If you think you can totally change someone's personality, you're going to be really disappointed. Marry someone 'as is' or don't do it at all."
Judah. 27. Divorced 1 Year.
"Don't get married because you've given an ultimatum. It wasn't my wife that gave me one. I gave her one. I had a job opportunity in another state, I hate long-distance relationships and so I told her that we need to either get married or break-up. We had been together for a year before we had this discussion, so she conceded. But she was miserable where we were and that took a toll on the relationship. When she got a great job elsewhere, she took it and I refused to leave mine. It might sound crazy but we still date and I get that she may meet someone else someday. I just know that I'm not a good enough compromiser for marriage. Not right now, anyway."
Rochelle. 38. Divorced (the First Time) 2 Years. (The Second Time) 6 Months.
"You and I have discussed before how there is a Scripture in the Bible that says if you get divorced, you should either remain unmarried or go back to your spouse and that it should be that way until they die. Crazy how many people ignore that, right? My problem is, when I divorced my husband, I was so afraid of being alone that I went right back. The second time didn't work either because we've both got some growing, separately, that we need to do."
"Don't let fear motivate you to get married. Or, in my case, married again. It doesn't do anyone any good."
(The Scripture is I Corinthians 7:10-11, by the way.)
Paul. 47. Divorced 10 Years.
"I loved my wife. I've never liked her very much. We share a lot of history. We have similar values. We have kids together. But as you get older, you realize how important it is to marry someone you really like spending time around. Someone who makes you laugh a lot. Someone who really is your closest friend. I never felt that way in my marriage and it felt like a slow death because of it. And the longer I stayed, the less I liked. We both deserved better. Now, we both have it. She's happily married to someone else. I'm in a serious relationship. Believe it or not, we're better friends now than we ever were. We don't hang out all of the time, but we're really cool. There's peace."
Nyah. 28. Divorced 2 Years.
"I cheated. I'm not gonna justify it either. I married a guy who was really good to me. He just wasn't my person. Even now, I'm still in love with the guy I cheated on my husband with. Problem is, he's in a relationship. It's a mess. Marriage can be messy sometimes. If your heart is elsewhere, you'd betta wait."
Xavier. 50. Divorced 7 Years.
"I don't know about that whole 'opposites attract' thing. Sometimes you can be too opposite. I'm a neat freak. She's absolutely not. I'm frugal. She likes to spend as much money as possible. She likes to go out a lot. I prefer staying at home."
"Sometimes, you connect with someone on a level that's like, 'If we could just stay in bed for the rest of our lives, we could be together forever'. Life doesn't work that way. If the way you do life, doesn't gel, you're in for a very rude awakening."
Elise. 34. Divorced 8 Years.
"Please don't get married assuming that something is going to go the way you want it to. My husband and I didn't know that we had fertility issues until after trying for three years to get pregnant. The money for IVF treatments, the constant scheduling of sex, the resenting each other for not being able to conceive — it all took its toll and started to consume us. Some things you don't know about until you're in them. If you are going into a marriage expecting guarantees about your expectations, stay single. Marriage is not for you."
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Aaron. 29. Divorced 4 Months.
"My wife didn't like being married. Some people can date just fine. Marriage is a different kind of accountability and she's a free bird. Anything that requires her having to answer to someone else drives her crazy. I think she thought she loved me enough to look past it but one day, I woke up to a note that she wanted out. We dated for five years. She wanted a divorce after one year. It hurts and I don't think we can be friends, but you can't hold a free spirit down. Just let them go."
Hadassah. 26. Divorced 3 Years.
"You always hear that marriage ain't the movies. It ain't. In some ways, it's better but you've gotta be willing to show up every day and not be selfish."
"Too many people are too selfish to be married. They want to be loved. They want to be forgiven. They want someone to go above and beyond but they don't want to do it for someone else. Not really. I was that 'they'. I was more into what I thought my husband should do for me that I didn't really even consider giving back at the same level."
"I'm enjoying being single more because I get that I need to pour into me first. If I ever get married again, I'll be more ready because of this time that I've got now. Hell. I'm in no rush, though."
Daniel. 33. Divorced 4 Years.
"I'm a 'serial monogamist'. I used to be told that in college, but I didn't take it seriously until I started the divorce process. While I enjoy being in an exclusive relationship and other women aren't an issue for me, the demands and pressure that a lot of women put on men in marriage is suffocating. My former wife and I had a great time while we were dating. After marriage, it's like she became an entirely different person. You know what they say — pressure busts pipes. I'd just rather date knowing that I don't have to pay someone thousands of dollars if we don't work out. Marriage is a business. The stress of that reality is…a lot."
Jordan. 42. Divorced 6 Years.
"What a lot of people won't tell you is how much you can change while sharing a life with someone else who is also changing. The first five years with my ex were great. But his new job changed him, my spiritual transformations changed me and soon, we were strangers. Marriage is about two people figuring out how to love new versions of each other. If you're not flexible in this way, don't get married. This is a reality that is totally unavoidable."
There you have it. 7 men and 7 women giving us a glimpse into what brought their marriage to an end. Again, I hope all of this causes singles to take a sober-minded approach to this kind of relationship and married people to figure out things that they can do to hopefully divorce-proof their union or work through the tough times if divorce is currently on the table. Because while marriage is a serious decision, divorce is too. That's why, whatever can be done to lower the divorce rate, I'm totally committed to investing in. I hope you are too.
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Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about someone who once told me that they had an annual week-long summer rendezvous that lasted for over 15 years with someone else. Yep — this individual would meet up with another person who lived in a different state, solely to have sex for a week straight, and then return to their city as if nothing ever happened. According to them, the only reason why this ritual romp eventually came to an end is because the other person decided to get serious about someone else; however, it wasn't until it ended that the person who told me the story realized how attached they actually had become to their sex partner (a cautionary tale). After I completed my lil' tale, my friend simply said, "Oh, I do that s — t every cuffing season. There are some people who I only talk to around this time of year, we f — k around and then that's that until the season comes around again."
Interesting. I mean, it's not like we don't all know what cuffing season is about at this point. By definition, it consists of linking up with someone (or a few individuals), for short-term partnerships (if you want to call them "partnerships"), in order to get through the bitter cold that is well on its way. Still, I can't help but to think that cuffing season has become such a big part of our culture these days, that when someone comes back into our life, solely and only for that purpose, that we may not be thinking things all the way through — that we may not be actually pondering if it truly is a good thing or if it's potentially a total waste of time or…even the beckoning of a potential unforeseen heartbreak. Or, if it could be blocking what really has the potential to be something more.
That's why I wanted to write about this. If, like clockwork, there are one or a few folks who like to pop up in the name of dear ole' cuffing season and you're just not sure if that's something that you want to put your precious energy into this year, I've got a few points for you to reflect on. Ones that will hopefully help you to make the decision that is ultimately best — for you.
Remember, Cuffing Season ALWAYS Has an Agenda
An author by the name of Lauren Weisberger once said, "Focus on yourself — do what you want, when you want, without having to consider anyone else's agenda." Agendas are interesting because, while it simply means having a list of things to do, if there is someone who ONLY hits you up around this time of year, the thing to keep in mind is that you're "something to do"…only right now. What I mean by that is, I'm a firm believer that we make time for what's important — that "being busy" is a kinda nice way of saying, "You're not a priority to me right now." So, if that guy has made the time to reach back out to you now yet hasn't any other time in the year, it's not really about your needs; it's all about his wants.
I don't care how he finesses it, romanticizes it or spins it — ole' boy could've just as easily hit you up in June as he did in September or October. So, if there is a large part of you that's considering letting him back in (pun intended and not intended at the same time), please keep in the forefront of your mind that there is definitely an agenda attached — and building something solid, I'm 89.9 percent sure, has very little to do with it.
Are You Horny, Lonely or Just…Bored?
So, what if you read all of what I just said and you're like, "I hear you. I'm still gonna answer his text, though." OK, then my follow-up point would be, "why?". So much is always revealed in the why of what we do what we do. Are you going to entertain this guy because you're horny? And if that's the case, were you not horny a couple of months ago or sometime even before that? What did you do to "ease your cravings" then? And why can't whatever-it-is-that-you-did work now?
Or maybe you didn't find a way to "scratch your itch" because you knew that fall would be rolling around, soon enough, and "he" is the one you wanted to, umm, spend your time with. If that's the case, it's important to also remember that cuffing season tends to be more about achieving physical goals than emotional ones. So, if getting back involved with him is about getting some and getting through the loneliness of the holiday season, don't forget that this is all a temporary fix; that he's gonna ease on out just as easily as he eased back in because, for him, it's not about him feeling lonely too. More times than not, it's probably about him wanting to link back up with someone who is more dependable instead of having to go through the trouble of having to find someone new. In other words, it's about you being less work than anything else.
And if it's because you're bored, I get that too. I used to do all kinds of bullshishery back in the day in the name of boredom. To that, I'll just say this — sex always comes with a certain amount of risk. STD risk. Pregnancy risk. Unnecessary drama and/or heartache risk. Hell, even if the "cuffing" that you're considering has nothing to do with copulation (make sure he knows that on the front end, by the way), like I say often when I publicly speak, "There is no condom for your heart." Countless nights being on the phone for hours on end, being booed up on the couch watching throwback Black movies, cooking together, hanging out, kissing and spooning — whatever it is that you want to do — that still cultivates a bond and cuffing season has a short shelf life.
So again, before moving full speed ahead, it's also a good idea to figure out the WHY behind what you are contemplating getting back into the cycle…again.
When’s the Last Time Your “Past” was in Your “Present”?
A motto that I personally live by is "life is meant to be lived in lines, not circles." In other words, have you ever watched a hamster, running nonstop, in his/her's cage before? Sigh. All of that work and getting absolutely nowhere. That said, something that amazes me about cuffing season is very few things that center around cyclic behavior gets the kind of praise that it does. Imagine going to a job once a year that never promotes you. Imagine getting back involved with a toxic friend, simply for old time's sake, once a year. Imagine returning to a habit that has proven to only temporarily please you and oftentimes comes to some unpredictable consequences, once a year. And yet, how is cuffing season any better than this? Especially when you're considering sharing it with someone you've already done all of it with before? In your past.
If you're someone who lives by "the past is the past" in virtually every area of your life, then a former cuffing season partner is probably not going to serve your best interest. At the very least, how about finding a new boo thang this year? And if what you're about to say is, we're getting down to the wire, so how can that happen? That brings me to my next point.
What’s the Better Alternative? (If You Think Hard, There Is One)
I've got a divorced client that I work with who, quite frankly, makes some of the dumbest relationship decisions that I've ever seen. It's mostly because he gets involved with women who he's barely even interested in, wastes months at a time, ends it and then after a few months have gone by, he finds a way to justify getting back involved with them again…only to "rinse and repeat" the same pattern — and then complain about it. Goodness, y'all, there are far too many people out here in the world who you've never met before to be out here settling for what's familiar, just for familiarity's sake.
While it can't be stressed enough that if you like all that cuffing season has to offer, you are grown and should go with it; if you know that deep down it is something that you constantly settle for — what alternatives are there? How about taking a trip to see some friends who are out of town? How about setting up an online dating profile? How about going on the blind date that some of your peeps have been trying to get you to go on for the past two cuffing seasons (at least)? How about going out with that guy who you keep saying isn't "your type" but you can't seem to get off of your mind? How about asking the guy out who you've been waiting to ask you out (I mean, y'all say you hate patriarchy, so what's the problem? Check out "What A Man Should Expect If YOU Ask HIM Out?")?
While cuffing season doesn't really rock my spirit one way or another, I will say that sometimes, always going for what's predictable and routine can hinder the newness that is trying to come into your life — if you would simply open yourself, your schedule and your life overall to doing something different (or differently). If deep down, you know that you're only considering cuffing season because it's what you're used to, at least jot down some other things that you could be doing instead. Your impromptu list just might surprise you — and proof to be better off if you follow through on it.
Never Forget: This Too Shall Pass
OK, so technically, as far as cuffing season goes, September is the beginning of "recruiting season". We're already in October. From what I've been told, the "championship games" end on Valentine's Day (chile). My point is this — if there's any time of the year that seems to fly by, it's cuffing season, mostly because the holidays transpire around this time too. This means that if you are a little bit tempted to give in to ole' boy, between Hallmark movies, holiday parties, days off and hanging out with friends and family members, it can be easier to avoid DMs, texts and midnight calls. Then, before you look up, it'll be late February and he'll be on to doing…whatever he was doing when he wasn't hitting you up (I know that's an "ouch"; I said it for a reason).
Believe you me, I know what it's like to have a blast-from-the-past-who-hit-THAT-spot ring your bell. I also know what it's like to feel pretty empowered after telling him, "Nah. I think I'm good" because here's the other thing to remember about cuffing season — guys from the past hit up people who they are pretty certain that they can do what they've always done to get what they want. Sometimes, it can do them some good to throw a wrench or two into their plans. And by "plans", what I mean is EGO.
Cuffing season is here and in full effect — no doubt about it. If the spirit is willing (to pass on it) but the flesh is weak, just remember that, as with all things in life, this too shall pass. Sooner than later in this case. He won't text forever. Just until he gets that you're not down. This means that this ho-hum ritual can end immediately or…eventually. It's totally up to you. Just remember your power. Either way. Whether you choose to get "cuffed up" or…not.
For more love and relationships, features, dating tips and tricks, and marriage advice, check out xoNecole's Sex & Love section here.
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How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
When it comes to sexuality, there have always been societal limitations centered on what is "acceptable." However, with more honest conversations about how fluid sexuality and sexual expression can be, now there are so many more opportunities for self-exploration and taking back ownership of our identities again. One couple that is living their truth and being sexual beings unapologetically while living and loving their lives are Jasmine Johnson and King Noire.
For some background, this husband and wife have been in a relationship for 10 years. Jasmine Johnson, aka Jet Setting Jasmine, is a psychotherapist and a Master Fetish Trainer, along with her husband, King Noire. Jasmine has over 20 years of experience in the industry. King Noire is an accomplished writer, artist, MC and global activist. As a couple in love and in business, Jasmine and King are owners of their award-winning adult entertainment company, Royal Fetish Films. Through their work, Jasmine and King have combined their talents and passions to produce erotica that stimulates audiences to explore their sexual boundaries.
In this installment of xoNecole's How We Met, Jasmine and King shares how their love continues to grow through intentionality, selflessness, and finding strength in baring it all.
How They Met
Jasmine Johnson: King and I met on a radio show. I was interviewing him on a podcast and the focus was porn and relationships. It was mainly about how people in the porn industry find relationships. We connected outside of the podcast and, when we did, we shared our personal bios to each other. We let each other know, 'This is what I've been through, this is where I'm at, and this is where I'm trying to go.'
King Noire: Yes, so we met on the podcast and I was very interested in getting to know Jasmine more. Jasmine was super straightforward and direct with her questions. I liked that. So I slid into her DMs and asked if we could work on our 'talents' together. At the time, Jasmine was teaching pole dancing and I was doing erotic touch massages. We both were very intentional about getting involved with each other.
King: After connecting outside of the podcast, Jasmine booked a session with me [for an erotic touch massage]. For me, that let me know that she respects what I do. When I saw her in person, I thought she looked better than her pictures. The first thing I noticed is that she has a very vibrant, illuminating smile. Jasmine's smile makes me want to smile.
Jasmine: Wow. How am I supposed to follow that? Before I met King in person, what attracted me to him was that he is a multi-dimensional man. The way that he is very in tune with who he is. I liked how he was not trying to shut off any of those dimensions. At the time, I was learning about all the dimensions of myself. So I thought, 'Well, here is a man who is educated, cares about his people, and likes to have a good time.' I also liked that he had a business pleasing women. I enjoyed my time with him, the conversation that we had, and the experience overall. He did not disappoint at all.
"What attracted me to him was that he is a multi-dimensional man. The way that he is very in tune with who he is. I liked how he was not trying to shut off any of those dimensions. I also liked that he had a business pleasing women. I enjoyed my time with him, the conversation that we had, and the experience overall. He did not disappoint at all."
Courtesy of King Noire and Jasmine Johnson
Making It Official
Jasmine: There wasn't exactly a clear moment for me. Our relationship grew gradually and the shift had a nice slow incline. We talked about each step along the way, so it was very thoughtful. For example, one of us would say, "I'm thinking about you all day long and I wish you were here with me." Instead of saying, "I wish you here with me and I want you all to myself."
King: It has been gradually growing and I think that is the best way to put it. We continue to grow together and how we express our interests and admiration in each other.
Dismantling Myths Around Polyamory
King: The biggest myth about polyamorous relationships is that people think it is always sexual. It is so much more than that. My expression for love is just different and it is not solely about having sex with people. When it comes to Jasmine, how we connect and share with one another makes us stronger. So being honest about how we may like to do certain things differently or we have separate interests is important. With polyamory, it's recognizing that you can't be everything to anybody.
For example, Jasmine wants to go to a certain event and the event is not really my thing. If I'm there, I am not going to have as much fun as she will have. To me, I would be taking away from her enjoying it if I told her that I didn't want her going with someone else. When you truly love a person, you want them to experience all of the things that they enjoy. So I want her to enjoy herself, do her thing, and tell me how it went when she comes back home.
Jasmine: I completely agree with King about the sex part. I know a question I get asked a lot is, "Oh, do you get jealous when your husband sleeps with other people?" Truly, when I think about King and I's relationship, it is about the quality time we spend with each other. Also, when people think about polyamory, people assume that both of the individuals have to be polyamorous. There can be mixed styles of orientation in one relationship.
We both tried different relationship styles and chose what worked for us. I was oriented towards monogamy when I met King. Now I am not saying I just threw in my monogamy card, because I didn't. I just became more open to the possibility and explored what other ways of being together would look like. For years, we have been able to have a sustainable and beautiful relationship in love.
"The biggest myth about polyamorous relationships is that people think it is always sexual. It is so much more than that. My expression for love is just different and it is not solely about having sex with people. When it comes to Jasmine, how we connect and share with one another makes us stronger. With polyamory, it's recognizing that you can't be everything to anybody."
The Fears Around Different Relationship Styles
Jasmine: King was really certain about who he was and his relationship style. For me, the fear was if I reject this, then I miss the opportunity to experience life with this man. I also had a fear of "failing" at being good at being poly or exploring what our relationship could look like. I questioned if it would possibly jeopardize the bond we had. Both of these fears, either way, the outcome was not going to be him and I. So I leaned into those fears and I'm glad we figured it out.
King: I didn't have any fears from her specifically, but in general. I only had one experience before Jasmine where I felt I was able to fully be polyamorous. But it still felt limiting because I was still learning myself. I think the fear was as we got down the road, is she (Jasmine) going to change up on me? That fear of her not trusting me. This happens whether you are in a monogamous relationship or a polyamorous relationship. People were trying to tell me what my love was for my partner and I felt boxed in. But Jasmine was that person I wanted to dive into, get to know, and share all of myself with her. At the same time, I don't want to compromise who I am because of a relationship. I want to enhance myself because of the relationship.
King: I don't know how cliche this will sound, but Jasmine really helped me express and find myself. With Jasmine, she is very confident in who she is and how she defines herself. She confirms that I also have the space to do that for myself. Those fears that I just spoke about were fears from past relationships and she made me realize that that is not a part of who she is. People say everyone comes with baggage and that shit is real. You realize you have to check your luggage somewhere else, because this is a new trip right here.
Jasmine: To love yourself is to take a hard look at a lot of aspects of yourself. You have to love the parts of yourself that you are not quite finished with yet. So much of King and I's relationship is helping others, but more importantly helping ourselves. A lot of the trauma work [I've done], King has been front and center.
Really doing that healing and processing it all, we really did it together and figured out how to make it pretty for y'all. How to express our sexuality to the world was really digging into the why's and meanings of who we are individually. From being in a relationship with King, I have also learned how to love myself differently. I don't have to do everything by myself anymore. When you have a partner to really appreciate the moments when life slows down, it's beautiful.
"From being in a relationship with King, I have also learned how to love myself differently. I don't have to do everything by myself anymore. When you have a partner to really appreciate the moments when life slows down, it's beautiful."
Courtesy of King Noire and Jasmine Johnson
Blended In Family, Love & Legacy
Jasmine: We have a blended family. We started co-parenting two to three years into our relationship. I think there is a huge stigma around blended families, where people think that when you have a blended family, it is going to be lacking something. I used to think this and it honestly took a while for me to believe that King could father all of my children. It wasn't necessarily about him expressing himself as a man and a father. It was really these preconceived notions and judgements of, 'No one is going to love your kids like you.'
The idea that someone in a blended family is not going to love your kids as much as if they were the biological parent is the furthest thing from the truth. My children have a full and complete family. Black families work hard and we continue to work while also through the expression of love. Black love does not have to look like that traditional Eurocentric idea. Black love can look like whatever it needs to look like for people as long as values are respected and aligned.
King: Building off of that, when you think about it, African-American family units don't just make lemonade out of lemons. We make everything with lemons]! History has shown us that the Black family has been broken up since we got here. People try to create this negative narrative around the Black family to make us feel bad. But I look at how we have created our definition of what family looks like, blood or not. We have always said it takes a village to raise a child. Family is more about who you love, how you love, and the responsibility of how you show up for your loved ones.
King: I think just finding more ways to love each other. What I mean by that is, how can I show you that I love you more within moments that we share? Within the Black love story, I believe we are afraid to expose the bareness of our souls. The more you expose yourself to somebody, we call it vulnerability. But I think of it as more of a strength. When you have a partner, if there is an area that you lack, your partner always has your back. They fill that space for you. So when we are able to show the totality of who we are, we are also able to fill in each other's blank spaces.
Jasmine: King has this motto for his music, which is, "Freedom, Justice, and Equality." I feel these three principles really cover every aspect of our lives. They make a really easy formula for our love. There is freedom in our love and I am not talking about sex and relationships. Freedom to respect our interests and support each other through them. The second one is Justice. There's a lot of accountability in our love. No one just gets away with anything around here. In terms of Equality, I have been able to see it as we come as equals to the table. We may not agree on everything, but we show up as humans and no one is inferior to the other.
If one wins, we all win.
Featured image courtesy of Jasmine Johnson and King Noire
I'm so excited because one of my favorite unscripted shows is back. OWN's Ready to Love is a dating series that follows professionals over 30, looking for long-lasting relationships. Hosted by Nephew Tommy, it follows singles who desire true connections and are grouped together to find them.
Each week the power shifts between the men and women in a process of elimination. In the end, three couples remain that will hopefully find love. Past seasons were in Atlanta and Houston, but season four takes place in Chocolate City, Washington, D.C. xoNecole got the opportunity to attend the show's media roundtable, where we got a bit of tea about the season, singles, and their journey to finding love.
And as Camille, one of the participants, put it, "This season is spicy, with Mambo sauce."
But it wasn't easy, the singles dealt with a lot of issues before and during the fast-paced dating series. "There is one point where I literally almost came to tears. I couldn't go anywhere or hide, and the situation was right in front of my face," said Corey, 40.
The women reflected on what it's like living in a city where the ratio of women to men is 17:1, and how many guys in the area feel like they're the prize. Also, the men talked about the importance of substance over physical appearance and how difficult it was to see women who they were interested in dating other men. "If you like a good popcorn situation, this is the show for you. You're gonna get a little bit of everything. All types of flavors visually and many of us have very strong personalities and viewpoints," said Mumen, 36.
One thing Ready to Love always gives is realness, and by the personalities and clear intent, you can tell that's at an all-time high this season. These singles have gone to therapy, raised families, branched careers, and now they're not playing any games about finding their soulmate. "One thing I know for certain is that I am worthy of love. Throughout this self-discovery, I realize I have a lot of good love to give. And I do look forward to that next partner, that twin flame who can add to my life as opposed to taking away from it," added Libba, 44.
I knew D.C. was gonna bring the heat, and I'm excited to add Ready to Love back to the weekend kickoff routine! Make sure you tune in as well!
Season four of Ready to Love premieres Friday, October 15 at 8 p.m. EST on the OWN Network.
Featured image via Ready to Love/OWN
R&B singers Justine Skye and Giveon may have never confirmed publicly that they were dating, but Justine may have confirmed their break up. Justine's initial tweet on Oct. 12 sparked the breakup rumors after she said she was "done" seemingly referring to her relationship.
"A man wouldn't know how to treat you right if you gave them a manual.. I know I shouldn't but I really can't help but blame myself for not saving enough love for me in the end 💔 whatever idc anymore I'm done."
While that tweet has since been deleted, the 26-year-old fired off a series of other tweets where she revealed she had been "hurt" and "broken."
"People want you to be vulnerable, but don't look weak. They want you to be real, but not too real. I don't know if I give a fuck anymore what people want, cause they don't even know."
People want you to be vulnerable, but don’t look weak. They want you to be real, but not too real. I don’t know if I give a fuck anymore what people want, cause they don’t even know— Justine Skye (@JustineSkye) October 12, 2021
"People who I thought loved me the most I let break me the most. And those who actually do love me I pushed away.. I'm sure I'm not the only one which is why I'm even talking about this on here rn cause it fuckin hurts."
People who I thought loved me the most I let break me the most. And those who actually do love me I pushed away.. I’m sure I’m not the only one which is why I’m even talking about this on here rn cause it fuckin hurts— Justine Skye (@JustineSkye) October 12, 2021
"It's like i'm a vase, it keeps cracking and i keep trying glue it back together to appear fine. Doesn't mean it's not still broken."
It’s like i’m a vase, it keeps cracking and i keep trying glue it back together to appear fine. Doesn’t mean it’s not still broken— Justine Skye (@JustineSkye) October 12, 2021
The "Collide" singer even referenced cheating.
"Cheaters gonna cheat. Liars gonna lie. Users gonna use."
Cheaters gonna cheat— Justine Skye (@JustineSkye) October 12, 2021
Liars gonna lie
Users gonna use.
While Justine didn't direct her tweets to anyone specifically, it didn't stop fans from assuming she was talking about the "Heartbreak Anniversary" singer.
Justine and Giveon have reportedly been dating for about a year and fans have spotted them together on many occasions.
More recently, Justine shared a now deleted TikTok video from her birthday trip in September that showed her and Giveon celebrating together on a tropical island.
Justine nor Giveon have responded to the breakup rumors.
Featured image by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images
Megan Thee Stallion is gushing over her boyfriend fellow rapper Pardison "Pardi" Fontaine. Meg confirmed her relationship with Pardi in February on Instagram Live after much speculation and since then they have been sharing cute moments with each other on social media, including how they spent their Valentine's Day.
They even made their red carpet debut at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in May where they matched each other's fly.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
On the season premiere of Taraji P. Henson's Facebook Watch show Peace of Mind with Taraji, the "H-Town hottie" opened up about what it feels like to be with the New Yorker.
"My boyfriend does make me very happy. He definitely does take care of me emotionally. He makes my brain feel good. He makes my heart feel good. That's definitely a big thing for me because I used to be so into the physical, right like… but he moves me, he inspires me, and we just feel like a real team."
This is the first time the 26-year-old has talked about Pardi publicly outside of social media. The first time she spoke on their relationship was during Instagram Live when she came to the defense of the rapper following a video that appeared to be him making concerning noises in the background.
"People don't know what the hell they talking about, they just be saying anything. I didn't like what they was trying to say about Pardi 'cause he is so calm and so sweet."
She later said, "Yeah he my boyfriend. I never said hot girls can't have boyfriends."
While the "Hot Girl" is no stranger to being an open book online, Pardi appears to be the opposite.
The 31-year-old's claim to fame is his 2018 hit song "Backin' It Up" with Cardi B, but he also has other credits that many people may not know.
He's a Grammy award-winning writer who has ghost written for many artists including Cardi B, Kanye West, Lil Nas X and more. He even co-wrote his girlfriend's hit song "Savage Remix," which he won the Grammy for and additionally co-wrote "WAP."
Featured image by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images for 40/40 Club